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The Stooge

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The Stooge is a 1951 American comedy-drama film directed by Norman Taurog and produced by Hal B. Wallis. The film provides a unique delve into show business, and jesting subtleties that underpin the world of fame and fortune with an undercurrent of human nature, love, friendship, and ego thrown into the mix. The headliner duo, legendary Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, showcase their rich comedic gifts, lending a spirited charm to the film that irresistibly draws you into their journey of earning their fame.

The setting is the early 1930s, during the days of vaudeville. Bill Miller, played by Dean Martin, is a moderately successful solo entertainer seeking larger audiences and desperate to make it big. On the other hand, Jerry Lewis plays Theodore Rogers (Ted), a simple, goofy yet incredibly expressive taxi driver with a heart as big as his humor. The film carefully unfolds showcasing their intersection at crucial points leading to a tumultuous yet entertaining journey.

Bill Miller, an otherwise obnoxiously egotistical stage performer, is not conventionally bad, but he lacks the unique touch to make it big. When he stumbles upon Ted, he realizes how Ted’s natural comedic talent can be used to form a lucrative double act. However, for his own reasons, Bill insists on introducing Ted merely as his stooge, an off-stage helper rather than a partner. This set-up forms the premise of the film, hence its name "The Stooge."

Polly Bergen plays Mary Turner, the resilient and loving wife of Bill Miller, who always manages to keep Bill's towering ego in check. Mary plays a crucial part in the film, helping navigate through the intricate web of intertwined emotions and building the emotional crescendo throughout the movie. As Bill's career begins to soar and his ego expands with his stature, it stands to inevitably test the bonds of friendship and respect between the duo.

This film sets itself apart by infusing elements of both comedy and drama. While the antics that occur during the various stage acts performed by Martin and Lewis evoke peals of laughter from viewers, the emotional tensions growing behind the scenes provide a darker, more dramatic contrast. Director Norman Taurog masterfully utilises these conflicting tones to keep the audience engaged throughout the film.

Fans of Martin and Lewis will appreciate "The Stooge" as it encapsulates the iconic pairing at their finest, highlighting the undeniable comic chemistry between them. Also, Dean Martin's singing is featured prominently in the film, which is sure to be a treat for his music fans. His laid-back suave and Lewis’s frenzied slapstick work in perfect harmony, intricately balancing yin and yang of comedy, making this film one of the most memorable entries in the Martin and Lewis canon.

The cinematography and the production value are excellent throughout, capturing the charm of the early 20th-century American Vaudeville accurately and immersively. It gives viewers a real sense of what it felt like to be in the audiences during that time, like a nostalgic window into an era long gone.

The narrative is compelling and, at times, heart-wrenching, forcing us to look inside ourselves as we navigate through the story. It forces the audience to question what success truly means, and how much of oneself and ones' relationships one can risk to achieve it. The film is beautifully scripted, with plenty of witty dialogue for Lewis and Martin to convey their on-screen personas effectively.

“The Stooge” is more than just a comedy, as it effectively intertwines elements of drama to create a uniquely charming tale. The film is essential viewing for fans of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, as it showcases their acting versatility and their undeniable chemistry within a narrative that delves into complex issues of friendship, ego, and ambition. Furthermore, its vintage charm and existential themes make it a compelling watch for film enthusiasts who appreciate classic and layered storytelling.

The Stooge is a Comedy, Drama, Romance movie released in 1952. It has a runtime of 100 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.7..

How to Watch The Stooge

Where can I stream The Stooge movie online? The Stooge is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Stooge for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Norman Taurog
Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Polly Bergen, Marion Marshall, Eddie Mayehoff
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